"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.""
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Hebrews 12:1-11
- There are situations that will overwhelm us - and make us lose heart in our battle against sin.
- We fight these battles two ways - remembering Jesus' conflict AND
- Remembering God's discipline . . . and this is a very strong possibility for us if we are sinning currently in some way. We should ask a simple question if we are involved in a besetting sin. Is God disciplining us though all this - or another way - are we miserable in this sin?
- If that is the case - rejoice! He is working with you to train you to hate sin - and love Him. He is absolutely committed that you will not have ANY lasting joy in sinful choices. Sin provides no real, lasting joy - maybe something momentary - but nothing lasting. The things is when God is dealing with us - our enjoyment in sin will be far, far less. God is disciplining us - spanking us if you will - or as the text says, "He scourges every son He accepts!" (Whoa - scourging - isn't that what they did to Jesus before the cross? YEP!)
- God does this so that as we are TRAINED by it - there will be NO JOY or ENJOYMENT of sin - and a growing disposition to only embrace righteousness. God graciously ruins us for sin - so that the only place we will find joy - is in HIM!
- The passage tells me He does this - He spanks the FOOL out of me - so I will be a sharer in His holiness. Oh, yeah, I remember all "the fool" that needed to be lovingly disciplined out of me - because, unlike all the other really godly people in the world - I have a great deal of "fool" in me (sarcasm alert!). Actually, we all have a tremendous amount of "the fool" in us that often can only be dealt with by having it revealed to us - then exposed in our actions - and eventually crucified by the cross. The "fool" in us will never submit to God - nor can it - the fool in us (also known as flesh) is opposed to God and His Word - it won't and it can't submit to God. Those controlled by the flesh (or the fool in us) cannot please God. Sooooo . . . I cannot please God as long as I subscribe to being a fool and acting the fool by turning to self rather than turning to Him.
- So glad for the last part of this - NO DISCIPLINE IS PLEASANT FOR THE TIME, BUT PAINFUL! - When I read this, I thought, Hallelujah! at least God knows this whole process is kinda painful!
But keep reading . . . BUT FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN TRAINED BY IT - uh oh - there is a training process going on? Yep, there is - to simply spank a child without a training process is just beating a rebellious little toot - but God is working toward something! He is seeking to get the "fool" out of us. He wants us to live by His grace and strength - not by our flesh - or "the fool" in us.
AFTERWARD IT YIELDS THE PEACEABLE FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS! This is what God is going after in this process. Just a quick question for anyone in besetting sin (as if I do anything quickly!). You at peace right now? (your answer is NO - I know this because I've been where you are!) Obedience yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness - disobedience yields painful discipline - and a general sense of, "this stinks!"
Now here is the kicker. When Christ bought you from the slave market of sin - and made you a son through Jesus Christ . . . God bought you for the purpose of owning you (which He does anyway) - but now as a son. He who began this work in you . . . WILL COMPLETE IT UNTIL THE DAY OF CHRIST JESUS! What does this mean? It means, that God is actively going to ruin you for the world. You belong to God . . . and He is GOING to finish what He has started in you. You can either enjoy this journey - and learn to obey Him - or be miserable for the rest of the process. The fact is He is utterly committed to you - to make you like His Son. He will do this even if He has to make you miserable in the process - even if He has to make your life one that is filled with problems - difficulties - disasters - roadblocks - and even to the point of breaking your bones (remember the lamb that is around the shepherd's neck - yeah - that was the one who would not quit wandering off. The GOOD shepherd would break that lamb's leg - so that it had to be around his neck for weeks. The shepherd did that so that the lamb wouldn't be killed - and so that he learned the shepherd's voice better than any other in the process - which, by the way, was why David prayed in the midst of his sexual sin in Psalm 51, "let the bones which You have broken rejoice.") Yep - God will even break your leg, if that is what it takes to finish the work of His grace begun at salvation.
That is where I will finish today - with the verses directly after the ones I've been quoting.
Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:12-13
Brothers and sisters in Christ, God will break your leg to have all of you! Don't make Him do it. Believe me, He will! He has done some things - or better said - allowed some things to train me over the past 30 years of knowing Him. Learn to be strong in Him - and let Him get "the fool" or '"flesh" out of you! He is only doing this because of how much He loves you. But please know this . . . His love is strong! He WILL pursue you. Getting involved with Him through salvation is the best thing that has ever happened to you! But it is a love that is so strong - that it will take your breath away - and at times . . . even break your leg.